DeAndre Thomas signs with the Hoosiers

Chipola (Fla.) Junior College forward DeAndre Thomas has signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Indiana next fall. His letter was faxed to Indiana earlier today.

Thomas, who stands 6-8 and about 300 pounds, in a longtime teammate of Jamarcus Ellis, who will also join the Hoosiers for next year. Ellis and Thomas led Chipola to the National JUCO final but lost. They also grew up and played together in Chicago.

Here’s the official release:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. ­ DeAndre Thomas, a 6-8, 295-pound forward from Chicago,
Ill., (Chipola [Fla.] Junior College), has signed a National Letter of
Intent to continue his basketball career at Indiana University, Hoosier Head
Coach Kelvin Sampson announced on Wednesday.

Sampson feels Thomas can help the Hoosiers in one of the team’s most
critical areas of need.

“One of the areas we feel we need to improve is scoring around the basket,”
Sampson said. “DeAndre will have an opportunity to really help us because we
have a need for the things he does well. He has a chance to be a really good
player. DeAndre was an outstanding high school player and a part of one of
the top junior college programs in the nation. He is a great teammate, has a
great personality and everyone will enjoy getting to know him.”

Thomas is the sixth member of the Hoosiers’ recruiting class, which ranks in
the top 10 nationally according to most recruiting services, and was a
teammate of fellow signee Jamarcus Ellis at Chipola and Westinghouse High
School. He joins Ellis, a 6-5, 200-pound guard; Indiana Mr. Basketball Eric
Gordon, a 6-4, 205-pound guard from Indianapolis North Central High School;
Eli Holman, a 6-9, 210-pound center from Richmond (Calif.) High School;
Jordan Crawford, a 6-4, 190-pound guard from Detroit, Mich. (Hargrave [Va.]
Military Academy) and Brandon McGee, a 6-7, 220-pound forward from Chicago
Crane High School.

“I’m excited to be a Hoosier,” Thomas said. “I feel great and can’t wait to
get on campus. Indiana is a great program and it will be an honor to play
for Coach Sampson and to continue playing with Jamarcus.”

Thomas averaged 14.9 points and 5.8 rebounds at Chipola last season while
shooting 60.7 percent from the field. He helped Chipola to a runner-up
finish in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)

“DeAndre is a low block scoring machine,” Chipola Head Coach Greg Heiar
said. “He has great hands, quick feet and is a very good decision-maker. He
understands how to pass from the post and is a great scorer with his back to
the basket. I’m proud of DeAndre for heading to a great institution like
Indiana with so much basketball tradition and think he will be very
successful.”

“DeAndre is a big man with really outstanding skills,” Jerry Mullen,
considered the top evaluator of junior college student-athletes, said.
“Indiana is getting a highly skilled athlete who knows how to win and is an
outstanding team player. DeAndre is very nimble, can pass the ball, score
inside and knows how to play. He really has a great feel for the game and
the sky is the limit for him.”